I recently blogged on ServiceVirtualization.com on the acceleration of the adoption of DevOps which is becoming a more frequent topic of discussion in the ITSM and ITIL worlds as we look to become more agile and accelerate our implementation cadence. Many believe that DevOps or “NoOps,” as some call it, is simply a movement to remove the rigor and structure of ITIL. I’m sure this may have crossed the minds of the initial founders of ITIL for a micro second, but it’s not the purpose of DevOps. And DevOps doesn’t necessarily mean the end of ITIL, but it may change the ground rules somewhat.
The popularity of DevOps goes hand in hand with the growth in Agile development methodologies. DevOps is extremely complementary to Agile. It extends and completes the continuous integration and release process across the testing and pre-production environment into the operational realm. This gives development complete transparency, from the approval of the work request to production. A key advantage is that code is promoted as soon as it’s developed. Since deployments don’t pile up, complexity and risk of failure is minimized. The smaller the change, should it fail, the more likely the area of impact is known and can be resolved or backed out and service restored.
DevOps does require cultural change, including organizational change and the removal of the age-old boundaries between Operations and Development. It is not about removing rigor or returning to times of IT being consistently unavailable. In fact, DevOps should increase rigor and structure, typically within the automation of the process from idea to production. One of the advantages of this is that the majority of us cope with small incremental change; this usually removes the requirement to “re-educate” ourselves. For the developer, the smaller “contained” nature of the change means that should a problem occur, the nature of the issue is known and it can be resolved or removed from the production environment.
So while DevOps doesn’t necessarily mean the death of ITIL, it does signal a sea of change in how IT operates and will require you to review your ITIL change and release management processes at a minimum. As you review your processes look to see if they are too structured and inflexible and check to see that your change requirements are not too rigid and structured. If it takes too long for a change to migrate to production, the line of business will likely seek new alternatives and you could be looking for a new role.
So my guidance to you is that you need to remove those rose colored glasses and take a look at DevOps and see if it is appropriate for your environment and if so how can you blend it into your effective and efficient delivery of IT enabled business. Remember it is the business that pays the bills!
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